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Apple variety and QR carton new at Rainier Fruit Co.

by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | December 06, 2010
Limited volume of Rainier Fruit Co.'s Junami apple variety is available commercially for the 2010-11 season, and Marketing Director Suzanne Wolter said that the sweet-tart fruit will be in stores starting in late January or early February.

Ms. Wolter said that promotion of the late-maturing apple, which is bright red, is being aimed at a youthful, active audience. She also explained that the unusual name, with the accent on the last syllable, translates roughly to "friendship and use" in several European Romantic languages.

Approximately 10,000 cases are going out this season, she noted. And as far as the size profile, Ms. Wolter said, “It’s still too early to tell where the size will fall” on the young variety.

As consumers become familiar with the Junami, they are also seeing new display cartons and mini bags from the Selah, WA-based grower-shipper. Printed on the packaging is the new QR, or quick response, code that allows anyone with a Smartphone and proper software to snap a picture that will be processed and link the user with web sites and even individual pages on sites.

Rainier is linking consumers with recipes, grower information, area information and a video link for the Honeycrisp variety.

“We have several codes,” she said, adding that the QRs can be “changed as often as needed.”

The company’s poly apple bags have been redesigned, and new cartons and totes are also being produced.

“Our goal was to put more emphasis on health with our packs,” Ms. Wolter said. By early 2011, a complete change-out from the previous designs will have been implemented.

And as the new packaging and Junami are being floated into the marketplace, the Lady Alice, introduced within the past couple of years, continues to make significant consumer inroads.

“We have a winner with this fruit,” Ms. Wolter said. “It’s a fantastic apple, and we start shipping it in March. Retailers have said they could move two to three times the volume if we could produce it.”

Lady Alice is up 30 percent over 2009’s volume, and it is also available in certified organic volume this season as well.